25 Things To Do This Fall In And Around French Lick Resort

One second, it’s summer. Snap your fingers, and it’s winter.

Doesn’t it seem like that’s how fall goes every year?

Between summer weather lasting longer and the department stores pushing out Christmas decorations after Labor Day, it seems like we’ve got a precious small window for fall’s glory. This year, make the most of autumn while you’ve got the chance. Whether you have a visit already planned to French Lick Resort in the next few months or live close enough to drive in for a quick night or weekend visit, check off a few of these boxes on our list of 25 Things To Do in and around the resort this fall.

Hayrides, S’mores and Pumpkin Patch: The perfect experience for families with younger children, we’ve combined three iconic activities of fall together into one action-packed circuit. Offered every Thursday and Saturday in October.

Mixology Class: They’re back: Our first round of Mixology Classes earlier this year were a hit, so we’re bringing them back. Your next chance is November 11 and 18. Grab a seat at the bar, learn the backstory behind popular cocktails, and watch demos from our mixologist as you sample drinks and nibble on appetizers.

Senior LPGA Championship: Come see the greats of the women’s game in action for just $5 a day at one of the country’s premier golf courses. The Pete Dye Course is stunning any time of year, but no more so than during the fall when the colors are changing and the views and vistas stretch for miles.

Craft Beer Experience: Six types of beer from local and regional breweries. Gastropub-themed hors d’oeuvres. A Saturday night out with friends or a date night. It doesn’t get much better than this. As you’d expect, this is always a popular event, so hustle to make reservations for this October 13 tour of brews and bites at West Baden Springs Hotel. Stay afterward for the Late Night Jazz Club’s live music in the library.

Wilstem Animal Fall Fest: For a budget-pleasing trip over the kids’ fall break, Wilstem Ranch (less than 15 minutes from the resort) has you covered. For just $10, their Animal Fall Fest (Sept. 29-Oct. 28) includes a bounce house, corn bin, play house, barrel train and access to the Roos and Crew encounter with kangaroos and other small animals. Add on a wagon ride, mini zipline ride or rock wall bungee trampoline for $2 per person, or add on a Giraffe Encounter for $15 per person.

More at the Ranch: Also at Wilstem, their Grizzly Encounter opens Oct. 20, featuring Bob and Screech, two 700-pound grizzly bears that have been featured on the Animal Planet show “Project Grizzly.” Wilstem has an array of other animal encounters, including the Elephant Encounter which ends for the season on Nov. 4.

Horse Sense: One of the best-kept secrets at the resort is the weekday Horse Sense Class up at The Stables. Start with a half-hour primer about the animals, get to know your horse and then embark on a 45-minute ride through the Hoosier National Forest.

Take a ride: Speaking of the horse trails, there’s no better time of year than autumn to enjoy them. Book one of the regular guided trail rides, which are offered six times each day. Someone in the group not a horse person? They can always go their separate way and play nine holes at Valley Links Golf Course, take one of the historic hotel tours, or hit up the sidewalk sale the weekend of October 11-14 at French Lick Springs Hotel’s Promenade of Shoppes.

Legend of Dry Hollow Trick-or-Treat Walk: Give the kids a pre-Halloween treat at our October 13 trick-or treat walk with goodies and entertainment, and then stay afterward to experience Flame in the Valley’s electrifying fire and glow performance.

Give yourself a scare: Sticking with the holiday theme, the Psycho Path at Sleeping Bear Retreat or the Haunted Mansion are both nearby the resort for some Halloween thrills.

Photography Weekend: It’s just 2½ weeks away, but there’s still time to reserve a spot in our two-day photography course led by professional photographer Ian McSpadden. You’ll shoot from some special views and perspectives, including the rooftop of French Lick Springs Hotel.

Patoka Lake Fall Foliage Wine Cruise: Spend an afternoon relaxing on nearby Patoka Lake with 5-7 wine tastings, two glasses of your choice and a souvenir wine glass.

Sip and pedal: A group surrey cart ride in the summer is nice, but it can be a sweaty venture. It’s ideal in the fall with the drier and cooler air hitting your face. Grab a pumpkin spice latte from the French Lick Mercantile and head out for a spin around the resort with your crew. Depending on your group’s size, it’s only between 4 and 7 bucks per person, per hour.

Sunset Dinners: The sun is starting to set on our Sunset Dinners for the season, but there’s still time through the end of fall to book one of our most unique dining experiences on the patio of the Pete Dye Mansion. Choose from 5:30 or 8pm seatings.

Afternoon Tea and Carriage Ride: Anniversary or special occasion coming up? Treat your special someone to a Saturday afternoon of royalty, starting with Afternoon Tea in the West Baden Springs Hotel atrium, followed by a carriage ride through the woods on the West Baden grounds.

Trolley Tours: Settle in for some history on wheels. Board our trolley bus and head out to see a couple dozen historical points of interest in the surrounding areas of French Lick and West Baden Springs. You’ll see everything from the Larry Bird bust at his former high school gym, to some of the area’s former underground casinos which still stand today. 

Have the kids paint a pumpkin: A small ceramic pumpkin, that is. (Much easier to transport home and preserve.) It’s among a range of fall-related children’s activities all throughout October at KidsFest, including face painting the weekend before Halloween.

Wine events: Whether you’re a sweet person or savory person, we’ve got a wine experience to fit your taste. If you’ve got a sweet tooth to satisfy, our next Wine and Dessert SoirĂ©es (Oct. 26 and Nov. 16) will do the trick. Wine Pairings (with hors d’oeuvres) are lined up for Oct. 5 and Nov. 9.

Orange County Pumpkin Festival: From Oct. 3-7, come out for carnival rides, games, food booths, flea market and entertainment, with a parade through French Lick and West Baden on Oct. 7 to wrap things up.

Trek the Ferguson Trail: It’s beautiful any time of day, but a walk or jog on the Ferguson Trail is breathtaking in the crispness of a fall day just after sunrise or just before sunset. You have the trail mostly to yourself early or late in the day, and chances are good for spotting some deer near the trail as it gets deeper into autumn.

Gaither Vocal Band and Holiday Homecoming Show: Check out the Grammy-winning gospel band on Nov. 17, the same evening as the tree lighting at West Baden Springs Hotel.

Farmers Market: Get your pick of locally grown produce, baked goods and hand-crafted items from 4-8pm October 5 on the town green.

Fall into Gardening: Take a tour of our resort greenhouse and the formal gardens at West Baden — and if you have questions about how your own garden grows at home, there’s always time for Q&A with our head grounds supervisor who tends to the thousands of plants across the resort.

Art on the Green and Blackhawk Manor Wine Festival: Hit up both of them the weekend of October 12-14 on the town green, located right across the main highway from the south end of French Lick Springs Hotel.

Weekend morning walks: October is the final month to get in on the 8:30am walks every Saturday and Sunday morning, led by a member of our concierge staff. You’ll learn a little history about the resort from them, and you’ve already gotten your steps in for the day by 10am. Win-win.


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